Daniel Ricciardo faces brutal F1 axe as Helmut Marko confirms VCARB decision | F1 | Sport

Helmut Marko has admitted that his plan for Daniel Ricciardo is ‘no longer valid’ with Liam Lawson set to replace him at VCARB in the near future. Ricciardo has raced for Red Bull‘s sister team for nearly a year but looks set to be ditched after failing to impress with his performances.

The Aussie was initially brought back into the Red Bull fold with a view to him eventually replacing Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen‘s team-mate. However, it was confirmed earlier this month that Perez had signed a new two-year contract to keep him at Red Bull until the end of 2026.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Marko confirmed that Lawson will be given a VCARB seat in the near future which could potentially spell the end of Ricciardo’s time on the grid.

“The shareholders have made it known that it is a junior team and we have to act accordingly,” said Marko. “The goal was that he [Ricciardo] would be considered for Red Bull with exceptional performances.

“That seat now belongs to Perez, so that plan is no longer valid. We will have to put a young driver in there soon. That would be Liam Lawson.”

Lawson stepped in to replace Ricciardo on a temporary basis last year following the latter’s hand injury at the Dutch Grand Prix. He performed well but was overlooked for VCARB‘s current driver line-up, with Ricciardo eventually being named as Yuki Tsunoda‘s team-mate.

It comes after Jacques Villeneuve launched a scathing attack on Ricciardo in Canada, suggesting that he was only being kept on the grid as a result of his public image.

“We’re hearing the same thing now for the last four or five years: ‘We have to make the car better for him, poor him’,” said Villeneuve, who was appearing as a pundit on Sky Sports.

“Sorry, it’s been five years of that, no. You’re in F1. Maybe you make that effort for Lewis Hamilton who has won multiple championships. You don’t make that effort for a driver who can’t cut it. If you can’t cut it, go home, there’s someone else to take your place.

“That is how it has always been in racing, this is the pinnacle of the sport. There is no reason to keep going and keep finding excuses. I think his image has kept him in F1 more than his actual results.”

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